We’re so excited that we have 36 Icelandic hatching eggs coming in the mail this week from Isai Pexton, of northcoastshepherd.com
Isai, (pronounced e-sigh) is delightful to talk with on the phone and very helpful with all sorts of hints and tips for a successful hatch of purebred Icelandic chicks! He raises beautiful Icelandic sheep, Icelandic chickens, and goats on his farm in Trinidad, Co.
Today, I’m working on getting the incubator set up and dialed in to be consistent at the correct temperature and humidity. Our hatching eggs should arrive on Wednesday in the mail, so we’ll let them acclimate and get them started in the incubator by Thursday morning. That’ll be Day 1. Then, just 3 weeks later, we’ll hopefully have chicks! I’ve read that hatching eggs at this high of an attitude and in this dry of a climate can be somewhat challenging, and since we’re novices, we’ll be happy if we’re able to be at least a 50% hatch rate.
If you’re curious about Icelandic chickens, here is an article from Mother Earth News.
Its finally starting to look like spring around here. The grass is greening up in the pasture, so the Dexters are staying out longer and not coming up to the feeder for as much hay. I walked out this morning to check on everyone and Frostie came for her back scratches, as usual. Isn’t she the cutest Dexter ever? Oh.. and did you see our announcement last month? Frostie is expecting her first calf in mid November. She has wonderful genetics. A2/A2, red, polled and wonderful! If she has a heifer, we may have be keeping her too.
Also, Will discovered a new batch of barn kittens yesterday! Barn cats live a hazardous life around here. Despite the fact that the road past our house is gravel, people still drive way too fast. So we loose some to the traffic, but also to predators. And some of the tom cats just wander off after a year or so. Last summer we had 15-18 barn cats, now we’re down to 3 adults. Patches had 4 kittens a couple of months ago and they’re all as wild as March hares! This new batch belongs to Freya and seems to be a nest of three. I didn’t stay long since Freya is pretty wild too and I didn’t want her to be too nervous.
Will is underway building our dome greenhouse. We read about the dome greenhouse experience of Anna at Northern Homestead and then ordered plans from Geo Dome in the UK. So watch for updates on that! We hope to extend our growing season by at least 6-8 weeks!
While Will is working on the dome, I’ve ordered seeds from my favorite non-gmo source, Territorial Seeds in Oregon. I’m only getting organic seeds since I figure if I’m going to go to all the work of planting, transplanting seedlings, planting in the garden, weeding, watering and cultivating, I might as well buy the best seeds I can find to grow the best food possible! I know that many of you already have gardens underway, but we’re in zone 4 and will very likely get at least 1-2 more snow storms before the end of May.
Stay tuned for garden updates and hatching eggs!